Blessed are they who are persecuted because of righteousness…

Jesus said, “Blessed are they who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:10

This is the path that Jesus chose to save the world. It was a difficult path, a path of humiliation, torture and brutality, yet He did not shy from it. He embraced the Cross for the sake of righteousness. Jesus paid the price of our sins to make us right with God. Jesus showed us that path of righteousness is a path distinguished by truth, by passion and by a total surrender to the will of God.

The word “passion” comes from the latin word ‘passus’ which literally means ‘suffering’. If we are truly passionate about something or someone, then we will be willing to suffer for them, and Jesus was passionate about His Bride, His People. His Sorrowful Passion is marked by the most horrific suffering, yet Jesus surrendered to the will of His Father in order to pay the price of divine justice.

Here are some accounts from the book “Jesus Freaks” that speak about those who were not afraid to be persecuted for the sake of righteousness:

“The cross is God’s truth to us, and therefore it is the only power which can makes us truthful. When we know the cross, we are no longer afraid of truth. We need no more oaths to confirm the truth of our utterance, for we live the perfect truth of God. There is no truth toward Jesus without truth toward man. Untruthfulness destroys fellowship, but truth cuts false fellowship to pieces and establishes genuine brotherhood. We cannot follow Christ unless we live in revealed truth before God and man. Suffering willingly endured is stronger than evil, it spells death to evil…The worse the evil, the readier must the Christian be to suffer; he must let the evil person fall into Jesus’ hands”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer,
Hung for resisting the Nazis,
Berlin, Germany
1945

“The secret police greatly persecuted the underground church, because they recognized in it the only effective resistance left. It was just the kind of resistance (a spiritual resistance) which, if left unhindered, would undermine their atheistic power. They recognized, as only the devil can, an immediate threat to them. They knew if a man believed in Christ he would never be a mindless, willing subject. They knew they could imprison the physical body, but they couldn’t imprison a person’s spirit—their faith in God. And so they fought very hard.”

Richard Wurmbrand
Founder of The Voice of the Martyrs
Spent 14 years in a Communist prison
Romania
1940s, ’50s, ’60s

“God didn’t call us to be successful, just faithful.”

Mother Teresa
Gave her life to the poor in India
1910-1997

“It is not my ability, but my response to God’s ability that counts.”

Corrie Ten Boom
Hid Jews in her home to protect them from the Nazis during WWII
Holland
1892-1983

“I am prepared to die in the army of Jesus. While the opportunity is there, I preach the Gospel with all my might, and my conscience is clear before God that I have not sided with the present government, which is utterly self-seeking. I have been threatened many times. Whenever I have the opportunity I have told the president the things the Church disapproves of, God is my witness.”

Janani Luwum
Arrested for defying the cruelties under Idid Amin and shot to death
Uganda
1977

“O loving Christ, draw me, a weakling, after Yourself; for if You do not draw me I cannot follow You. Give me a brave spirit that I may be ready and alert. If the flesh is weak, may Your grace go before me, come alongside me, and follow me; for without You I cannot do anything, and especially, for Your sake I cannot go to a cruel death. Grant me a ready spirit, a fearless heart, a right faith, a firm hope, and a perfect love, that for your sake I may lay down my life with patience and joy.”

Fr. John Huss
Priest
As he lay in chains in prison before being burned at the stake
Bohemia, Czechoslovakia
1415

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7

St. Paul,
Apostle to Jesus
Beheaded by the Romans
68 A.D.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34

Jesus
Our Lord and Our God
Crucified for Love

Let us never be afraid to be passionate for Jesus:

“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” John 4:4

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